Arrow of Time – 1.99 (Puya Dadgar)

The Unreal Engine has considerably opened up the world of iOS gaming since it’s introduction late last year. Games taking advantage of the engine generally have incredible graphics and fantastic gameplay. Dungeon Defenders, Infinity Blade, Dark Meadow, Gyro13, these are titles that truly take advantage of what Unreal can do on the iDevice. However, there are a few titles that really do not grab onto everything that Unreal has to offer. Sadly, Puya Dadgar’s title, Arrow of Time is one of these titles.

First off, the graphics in Arrow of Time are done fairly well, however, the animations are really clunky, and not very impressive. Most of the time, it looks like characters are sliding along the ground while running or walking, and it looks like multiple frames have been left out of most of the animations.
Control-wise, you’re able to move with a joystick, aim by swiping on the screen, shoot your weapon by tapping the fire button in the lower right corner. Here’s where it gets pretty uncomfortable. To jump, you’ll need to flick your device either to the left or to the right, and to do an avoidance roll, you need to flick your device forward, or towards yourself.
The collision detection is also something that needs to be worked on quite a bit, as it makes the game extremely frustrating, and almost unplayable. In the second level of the game, you’re required to jump up and grab onto a part of a wall, then pull yourself up. While grabbing onto the wall is done automatically, running up to the wall, and then quickly flicking your device to the left or right will make your character jump up and grab it. Here’s where the collision detection comes in. Half the time, the game will automatically move your character to the left or right, rotating them, having them holding on to air. Your character can get stuck like this, not being able to flick the device again to pull yourself up, or use the joystick or dodge flicks to make your character let go of the wall, forcing you to re-start the stage from the beginning. About 40% of the time, your character will go straight into the wall, getting stuck as well, with no way to get them out, again, forcing you to restart the level. There are some cases in which your character will go into the wall, but still be able to climb up with a left/right flick of your device, and some times the act is done the way it’s supposed to be done. In short, you’ll be able to pull this off about 1 out of 7 or so times, and with level 2 requiring you to do this three times, it’s almost impossible to make it through the stage. There are other sections where collision detection gets to be VERY frustrating, like in stage 1, when you’re supposed to protect a girl, but somehow the enemies swords are able to reach through you, and about 4 times the length of the sword to kill the woman, requiring you to start over. I think you get the point.
There are various cut-scenes throughout the game, which are not terribly voice-acted, but there is no option to skip, and no pause button, so you’ll need to set aside a certain amount of time when you have no chance of being bothered. Some of the cut-scenes give you information which you’ll need in order to progress through the game, so they can be fairly important.
Summed up, Arrow of Time is a game that still needs a lot of work. It feels like a demo or beta version of what could eventually wind up being a decent game. Considering the game was made by two people over a period of 3 months, it’s not incredibly bad. However, the game shows that it was made by two people who worked on it only for 3 months. Priced at $1.99, it’s one of the cheapest Unreal powered games you can get in the AppStore, and the game is Universal. There is no GameCenter or OpenFeint integration, but the game doesn’t really call out for it. Basically, if you’re dying for a 3rd person action adventure game, Arrow of Time might be worth picking up. It does have 8 ratings in the US AppStore, 7 of them are 5 star ratings, however, if you read them, most of them sound like they are from friends or people that might know the developers. Hopefully, Puya Dadgar has plans of working on the game, and fixing as many issues as they can in future updates, but as it is now, it’s a very frustrating experience.

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